Oh, how I miss all things bargain-priced.
The Euro-Dollar exchange rate can be a killer, so I have a biannual event that I always look forward to: SALDI!
Saldi (sales) happen twice a year in Italy and they are a HUGE deal. There are very strict laws governing the timing and labeling requirements for sales so you always know what to expect and when.
Italian winter sales usually start about 6 January, right after all the Christmas shopping is done. Italian summer sales start on or around 1 July and each runs for just under two months. In 2020, the Italian sales start in Rome on 4 January and will officially end on 28 February.
Italian retailers are required to put the starting price + the percent discount + the sale price on the tags. It’s a way of ensuring they don’t claim something is marked down when it’s really still originally priced.
I love the saldi and usually come home with shirts, jeans, and shoes that are marked down 70%.
Shopping the sales in Italy needs to be at least a little bit strategic, however. If there is an item that you really have your eye on, you should go the first or second weekend of the sales. At the beginning of the saldi, the maximum discount you will usually see is 50%, but I would say that 30% is more common as a starting point.
The deeper discounts (up to 70%) come later in the sale season, usually into the second month of the saldi (so the beginning of February for winter sales, and the beginning of August for the summer sales). Waiting until this point can mean incredible deals but it is risky because there are certain to be slim pickings by that point. Shoe and clothing sizes are sure to sell out, so don’t wait if you find something irresistible.
Overall, the saldi mean Made in Italy at a major discount- and the twice-a-year extravaganza is one of the great things about living La Dolce Vita.
Here is where to shop in Rome if you are planning retail therapy in the capital!